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Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

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Confessions of a Bibliomaniac (My book flood and book buying pledge for the next 6 months)

This has been a long time coming. Ever since I flew the coop and had a place of my own to live I've been amassing books. A few at first and than slowly 2 or 3 at a time or whenever I happened by a bookstore. Than the list making began of books I wanted or knew were coming out and things started to get a bit more out of hand. I've always been a fast reader so I never minded having a lot of unread books around the house even when it started getting in the hundreds of titles. I like choice.

As a child my family didn't have much money so I was a library regular since I was 7 or 8. I knew all the librarians and they knew me. I even slipped up and called one mommy one day by accident because I was so use to being there and asking for something. I think the librarian got a kick out of that, but my cheeks turned quite red when I realized what I had done. In middle school my obsession was so widely known instead of study hall I was assigned as a library helper for a period every day.

Well now I still have hundreds of unread books lying around and buy often and now with blogging for more than a year quite a few publishers send me books regularly with a mix of some requested and some surprises. Which brings me to the point of the article. I am going on a book buy hiatus of sorts*. I am limiting myself to buying only 10 more books this year starting at the end of June**.

Why is this you may be asking? When I first started blogging I'd get a review book every once in awhile , which was very nice. Still is. Now I sometimes come home to 3 or 4 packages any given day, which my wife refers to as "The Book Flood." I've come to the realization that between the books I own and want to read and the books that I get for review I am running out of space. So this isn't a monetary issue. Merely a pragmatic decision. I don't have much more space to fill. My wife and I might be moving in the next year or two and we don't want to buy more bookcases because we'll probably be moving to a slightly smaller place or of similar size where they couldn't fit any better. Also, this will force me a bit more to read what I have and clear some space by either lending more read books to friends or getting rid of the ones that won't ever be re-read***.

Another reason this is coming up is the first half of 2011 is looking absolutely amazing in terms of new releases many of which will need to find a home on my shelf's of honor****. We've got a new Abercrombie (The Heroes), Lynch (The Republic of Thieves), and Rothfuss (The Wise Man's Fear) just to start. Than we have a new Christopher Moore (The Griff), Jasper Fforde (One of Our Thursdays is Missing), Jim Butcher (Ghost Story), Daniel Abraham (The Dragon's Path), and Jesse Bullington (The Enterprise of Death). So 2011 will already be a packed year and most publishers haven't even announced the majority of books on the docket.
*Any books already ordered or pre-ordered do not count. I believe I have 6 books on preorder at the moment, but I could be off.
** My birthday is coming up at the end of the month and I'm doing a last hurrah visit at The Strand with a friend. This obviously doesn't count, but I'll hold myself in check to a degree.
*** What? It happens. Sometimes.
****You know where you keep all your favorite books front and center so you can stare and visitors can drool.


You're probably a little interested in what these 10 will be. So here is what is on the must buy list:

China Mieville's Kraken - Have to grab this especially after all the great reviews coming along. For god's sake it has giant squids in it!

Catherynne Valente's The Habitation of the Blessed - Not much has been mentioned about this book yet, but it sounded intriguing and I've liked a lot of Valente's short work. The Prestor John mythos has always intrigued me as well. There's just something about lost/mythical cities that always pulls me in.

Jim Butcher's Side Jobs - Dresden collection. 'Nuff said.

Richard Kadrey's Kill the Dead - Sequel to the fabulously grungy Sandman Slim.

Ted Chiang by Stories of Your Life - I keep hearing how amazing Chiang's writing is and Small Beer Press is reprinting this hard to find short story collection later this year.

Ekaterina Sedia's The House of Discarded Dreams - New Sedia. 'Nuff said.

Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin - I was intrigued by what Akers tried to do with Heart of Verdion and I want to see what how he is developing his Noird style. And that cover is rockin'.

Notice there are only 7 books mentioned? Well I have to leave room for impulse. Especially with the way Sub Press does things. You never know when they'll announce an awesome new book. Plus I could always read a series book and need the next immediately as keeps happening with Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt casebooks. And I am starting on a collective blog project that you'll be hearing more about in the coming months that may require me to buy a book or two. Let me just say it will be monumental in terms of book blogging.

There are some other books that should have been on this list as well, but I'm fairly sure review copies will show up. Heck some of the above might. Plus anything coming out in December might show up under the Christmas tree.

Wish me luck! Who wants the under/over on whether I can pull this off?

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6 comments:

Robin McCormack said...

Good luck with limiting yourself to 10 more books over the next few months. I went on a book buying ban and tried to limit accepting review books. Difficult to do, when there are so many good choices out there. I've managed to whittle down my tbr pile but not my bookshelves. Hate getting rid of books. Usually end up having more book boxes than any thing else when moving. Good luck! What book are you reading first for the SFF Masterworks read?

Adam said...

Chiang is THE best short story writer in the world today; maybe ever. His stories are beyond definition or description and I am glad I got an original Stories of Your Life before it went out of print. I probably will pick up a second copy from Small Beer for a giveaway though. Gotta help spread good lit around.

SKelly said...

About time (LOL- J/K). I know where you can start to send some books off to "Summer Camp" now that we're moved. Finished Storm Front the other night and am ready to house your Dresden Files collection for a while :-)

The Mad Hatter said...

@Robin - Thank you! My first will be Time and Again, which I've only heard marvelous things about.

@Adam - Another stellar recommendation. Don't get my hopes too high though.

@SKelly - Consider it done!

Rowena Cory Daniells said...

Mad Hatter, I tried emailing you about a review, using the address and it bounced.

Cheers, Rowena

Rabid Fox said...

I concur with the best wishes in curbing your book buying. My habit is already limited on a monetary basis, but I've still managed to amass a big pile of books. I may need to do something similar.

I have Kadrey's Sandman Slim sitting on my TBR pile. Must read it so I can decide if I want to buy the sequel too. :)